Formerly a republic of the Soviet Union, Russian is spoken in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is one of the wealthiest Central Asian nations because of its mineral resources. Islam has experienced a revival since the fall of the Soviet Union, with many returning to what they consider the religion of their parents. Today Kazakhstan emulates its European neighbors, undertaking massive construction projects, enjoying a growing financial sector and moving away from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin alphabet used by the Western world. The major religion in Kazakhstan is Islam, and there are also many atheists. The government and communities are the main persecutors, but government persecution has been sporadic and inconsistent.